Unfurling The Red Carpet: The National Awards Contenders

Clemson's Vic Beasley is one of four national finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award.


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On Monday, the sea of individual awards given annually to college football’s most outstanding athletes  will whittle their list of semifinalists down to a select group of finalists. As is the case each November, the Atlantic Coast Conference will be well-represented, with top-flight performers on offense, defense and special teams.

Bednarik Award - Presented to the college defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club

Clemson DE Vic Beasley
Making the case ... one of the most feared edge rusher in college football, Beasley is tied for the ACC lead with eight sacks.

Louisville S Gerod Holliman
Making the case ... blessed with uncanny instincts and ball skills for such a young player, the sophomore leads the nation with 13 picks, one off the NCAA mark set in 1968.

Miami LB Denzel Perryman
Making the case
... the enforcer of the Cane D has racked up a team-high 81 tackles and countless intimidations of opposing ballcarriers.


Biletnikoff Award - Presented to the nation's outstanding college receiver by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation

Florida State WR Rashad Greene
Making the case
... despite getting minimal support early on from a young collection Seminole receivers, Greene has still hauled in a league-high 75 passes for 1,042 yards and five touchdowns.


Bronko Nagurski Trophy - Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club

Louisville S Gerod Holliman
Making the case
... blessed with uncanny instincts and ball skills for such a young player, the sophomore leads the nation with 13 picks, one off the NCAA mark set in 1968.


Butkus Award - Presented to the nation's best linebacker by the Butkus Foundation

Clemson LB Stephone Anthony
Making the case
... as one of the heart-and-soul performers of the rugged Tiger defense, Anthony leads the team with 74 stops, including 8.5 behind the line of scrimmage.

Miami LB Denzel Perryman
Making the case
... the enforcer of the Cane D has racked up a team-high 81 tackles and countless intimidations of opposing ballcarriers.


Davey O’Brien Award - Presented to the nation's best quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation

Florida State QB Jameis Winston
Making the case
... quarterbacks, like coaches, are judged by their record. Winston is 10-0 this season, leading the Seminoles back from a second-half deficit in half of those victories.


Doak Walker Award - Presented to the nation's premier running back by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum

Pittsburgh RB James Conner
Making the case
... the nation’s third-leading rusher has barreled his way to 1,562 yards and 21 touchdowns, and he’s getting better as the season unfolds.

Miami RB Duke Johnson
Making the case
... Johnson’s triumphant return from last season’s injury has been marked by 1,653 yards from scrimmage, a dozen touchdowns and more than seven yards per carry.


Jim Thorpe Award - Presented to the nation's best defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association

Duke S Jeremy Cash
Making the case
... hits like a linebacker, yet covers like a corner, Cash is the front man of a Blue Devil secondary that’s yielded just seven touchdown passes all season.

Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller
Making the case
... raising the level of his play in Year 2, Fuller has broken up 13 passes, despite opposing quarterbacks wanting nothing to do with his side of the field.

Louisville S Gerod Holliman
Making the case
... blessed with uncanny instincts and ball skills for such a young player, the sophomore leads the nation with 13 picks, one off the NCAA mark set in 1968.

Florida State CB P.J. Williams
Making the case
... NFL scouts adore him, while opposing quarterbacks want no part of him. The versatile Williams has 41 tackles and a team-high nine pass breakups.


Lou Groza Award - Presented to the nation's top place-kicker by the Palm Beach Sports Commission

Florida State PK Roberto Aguayo
Making the case
... the reigning Groza Award winner has missed just one field goal in 20 attempts, nailing all three from beyond 50 yards.

Virginia PK Ian Frye
Making the case
... one of the Cavaliers’ most reliable offensive weapons this season, Frye is 17-of-20 on three-pointers.

Clemson PK Ammon Lakip
Making the case
... Lakip leads the Tigers in scoring, connecting on 19-of-23 field goals and all 30 of his extra point attempts.

Duke PK Ross Martin
Making the case
... The Blue Devils’ Mr. Reliable on special teams has not disappointed in 2014, making all but two of his 18 field goal tries.

Syracuse PK Cole Murphy
Making the case
... Murphy has been a gem in his first year out of Valencia (Calif.) High School, solidifying the Orange special teams with 13 field goals on 15 attempts.

Louisville PK John Wallace
Making the case
... Wallace boasts one of the strongest legs in the league, using it to make 13-of-16 field goals, including a 51-yarder.


Mackey Award – Presented to the nation's most outstanding Tight End by Friends of John Mackey

Florida State TE Nick O’Leary
Making the case
... the Seminole offense can always count on the sure hands and crisp routes of O’Leary, who’s second on the team with 37 receptions for 406 yards and a pair of scores.

Miami TE Clive Walford
Making the case
... Walford has played a seminal role in the maturation of QB Brad Kaaya, often bailing out the rookie with his Hurricane-high 33 grabs for 522 yards and seven touchdowns.


Maxwell Award – Presented to the college player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club

Pittsburgh RB James Conner
Making the case
... the nation’s third-leading rusher has barreled his way to 1,562 yards and 21 touchdowns, and he’s getting better as the season unfolds.

Miami RB Duke Johnson
Making the case
... Johnson’s triumphant return from last season’s injury has been marked by 1,653 yards from scrimmage, a dozen touchdowns and more than seven yards per carry.

Florida State QB Jameis Winston
Making the case
... quarterbacks, like coaches, are judged by their record. Winston is 10-0 this season, leading the Seminoles back from a second-half deficit in half of those victories.


Ray Guy Award – Presented to the college punter of the year by the Augusta Sports Council

Miami P Justin Vogel
Making the case
... the Florida transfer has been an instant hit at Miami, averaging 44.3 yards, while dropping more than half of his punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Wake Forest P Alex Kinal
Making the case
... the Aussie has been one of the bright spots in Winston-Salem this fall, averaging 43.6 yards, with the hang time and directionals to prevent most of his boots from even being returned.


Rotary Lombardi Award – Presented to the college lineman of the year by the Rotary Club of Houston

Clemson DE Vic Beasley
Making the case
... one of the most feared edge rusher in college football, Beasley is tied for the ACC lead with eight sacks.


Walter Camp Award – Presented to the nation's most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Foundation

Louisville S Gerod Holliman
Making the case
... blessed with uncanny instincts and ball skills for such a young player, the sophomore leads the nation with 13 picks, one off the NCAA mark set in 1968.

Miami RB Duke Johnson
Making the case
... Johnson’s triumphant return from last season’s injury has been marked by 1,653 yards from scrimmage, a dozen touchdowns and more than seven yards per carry.

Florida State QB Jameis Winston
Making the case
... quarterbacks, like coaches, are judged by their record. Winston is 10-0 this season, leading the Seminoles back from a second-half deficit in half of those victories.